In 2005, community workers from Community & Neighbourhood Services were interested in exploring the issue of youth volunteerism in summer programmes at The City of Calgary. Of particular interest was how to attract more racialized and immigrant youth to these programmes, both to provide a more inclusive opportunity, and also to provide needed networks and job contacts for these young people.
The first step was to determine the demographic makeup of youth currently volunteering, and their motivations for doing so. In 2004, 179 volunteers worked in Community & Neighbourhood Services for a total of 8507 volunteer hours. But not demographic information was gathered. So, at the orientation for all youth volunteers in 2005 June, a survey was conducted to explore these questions (see Appendix 1).
This paper highlights the results of that survey. Further research is planned to use focus groups in targeted communities to probe in more depth racialized and immigrant youths' perceptions of volunteer work and The City of Calgary as an employer. Minority youth remain a large and largely untapped volunteer pool by the formal volunteer sector. This research will help us learn more about the motivators and barriers to volunteering.